Anxiety

photo by Brown Eyed Photography

Lately I have been feeling a lot of anxiety. I am an anxious person. Anxiety is something I’m familiar with. For me, it fluctuates. I go through periods of low anxiety and periods of high anxiety. This has been a high-anxiety couple of weeks. I went to a yoga class yesterday and the teacher remarked during her teaching that spring carries with it the ‘energy of anger.’ I asked her about that afterward and she told me to think of flowers punching through dirt, birds thrusting beaks through shells, buds bursting out of their pods. The energy of spring, she said, is naturally angry. It has to be. As an animal member of this earth, I am supposedly prone to the same cosmic ill-humor. She encouraged me to yell, punch pillows, or do anything else that might clear anger from my system. It was comforting to think that my anxiety spike, this feeling of being itchy in my own skin, of feeling dissatisfied and uneasy, could be evidence of my alignment to the cycles of the earth. Better that than evidence that I’m just chemically unbalanced.

Whether it’s due to the changing of the seasons or not, this anger/anxiety is something that I want to deal with. I don’t really feel comfortable punching a pillow but I did go to a cardio class today and it definitely drained me of some of my vitriol – I don’t think I’ve worked so hard since I stopped doing CrossFit four years ago. Lately I feel like a slug. I sit on the couch to read, I sit on the couch to write, I drive a lot. I’ve just been sinking into my surroundings. Literally and figuratively. Literally I sit on the couch a lot, figuratively I am kind of passive about my life. I go with the flow. I look to others for validation. I ask other people what they want to do and I do that. If I make a suggestion and someone demurs, I change course. I don’t feel strong lately. I feel sluggish. Weak. I want to live my best life. Embrace my passions. Live my truth. Be active. Alive. Dynamic. Fulfilled.

That is why I decided to start working out again. I am hoping that by pushing my physical body, my mind will get the message that it has the power to act decisively. I crave a sense of agency. Confidence. I’m pinning a lot of hopes on this Y membership. It could really be an omen in either direction but after my initial class today, I thought I was going to die. Or at least pass out. But I didn’t! That’s a win, right? I pushed myself. I showed myself that I can do difficult things. It’s also a good lesson in patience; results don’t appear overnight. Today I could barely do a pushup. I pray that, within the next month, that humiliation will be rectified.

What am I anxious about, you wonder? Mostly I think I am anxious because there is so much that I want to do. I want to make albums. I want to write. I want to perform. I want to collaborate. I want to tour. I want to work. And I want to do it all now. If there’s one thing I’m doing, it’s writing. And I’m thankful that that’s coming easily because sometimes it doesn’t. Right now the writing is really flowing. I’ve been really in a good song-writing groove for the last few months. But I really want to perform more. I want to interact with more artists. I want to record more. I want a booking agent. I want to hear my songs in movies and on tv shows.

It’s hard to be patient. To accept that there are some things out of my control. But I have to keep reminding myself that I’m putting in the work and that results don’t happen overnight. It takes sustained effort. It takes time. Maybe you go to class after class, doing push-ups on your knees, struggling to straighten your arms and feeling inferior to everyone else in the room and then, one day, because you put in the work, because you put in the hours, because you kept showing up, one day you get up off of your knees, your arms straighten out, and you realize that you’re finally doing it. And it feels effortless. Like the most natural thing in the world.

Jackie is the front woman of Roan Yellowthorn. Listen to her new album here.